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Unformatted text preview: Materials Science Fall, 2007 Page 6 The composition of a material is its chemical constitution. The compositions of most inorganic solids are conveniently given by listing the weight or atom fractions of the atomic constituents. This is usually done even when the material can also be described as a chemical compound (such as salt, NaCl). The reason is that the molecules of inorganic substances ordinarily lose their identity in the solid in the sense that there is no unique way to identify the specific molecule to which a particular atom belongs. In most organic solids, on the other hand, and in some inorganic ones, the molecules have a strong internal bonding that is preserved in the solid state. In these cases the molecules retain their identity and it is convenient to specify the composition of the solid by the types and relative fractions of the molecules it contains. We shall return to this point in a later chapter....
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